People who follow the monk fast diet abstain from food for 36 hours each week. During this time, the plan’s developer, WeFa.st, recommends drinking plenty of water and zero calorie beverages.
Although no scientists have studied the monk fast specifically,
Evidence shows that
Keep reading to learn more about the monk fast and its potential benefits and risks.
The monk fast is one of several methods of intermittent fasting. When people engage in such fasts, they either do not eat at all, or they severely restrict food intake during certain times of the day, week, or month.
This dietary method requires individuals to abstain from food for a 36-hour period each week. During this time, they drink lots of water and other zero calorie beverages, such as tea or black coffee, to avoid dehydration.
WeFa.st, the developer of the monk fast diet, recommends doing the fast early in the week to avoid the possible interference of social obligations that typically arise later in the week and on weekends.
- beginning the fast after the evening meal on Monday
- fasting all day Tuesday
- ending the fast upon awakening on Wednesday with a light, easy-to-digest breakfast
There are no studies that focus particularly on the monk fast, but
However, research has not examined whether the benefits are long-term. In addition, there are insufficient data on the safety of the practice, and experts
A person interested in following the monk fast should talk with a doctor first.
Studies suggest that intermittent fasting, such as the monk fast, may promote weight loss, increase longevity, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Promotes weight loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
The National Institute on Aging reports on a mouse study that suggested that fasting has a longevity benefit. It found that the mice that ate one meal per day, which involved the longest daily fasting period, had a longer life than other mice. Age-related damage to organs also occurred later in this group of mice. The researchers hope to conduct further studies on other animals and, at a later stage, humans.
Reduces diabetes risk
The study authors concluded that the fasts are an effective, nonmedical treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Anyone with diabetes who wishes to try the monk diet should speak with a doctor first. The doctor can help them ensure that they are using diabetes medication correctly during fasting periods to avoid the complications of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia.
Lowers heart disease risk
There is no specific research on the risks of the monk fast diet. Studies on intermittent fasting in general do show that this practice has several potential risks, though.
- feeling cold
- low energy
However, the authors of a
- Insulin resistance in muscles: Fasting 1–2 days per week leads to overnight fluctuations in free fatty acid levels that are larger than those from a normal overnight fast. This can lead to increased insulin resistance in skeletal muscles.
- Mood problems: Although intermittent fasting may improve mood and eating behaviors in individuals with excess body weight, it may have the opposite effect in those with a weight within the recommended range. Some studies reported that such people experienced irritability and difficulty concentrating.
- Menstrual cycle changes: It is possible that intermittent fasting will change the frequency and length of the menstrual cycle.
- Feasting on nonfasting days: Some people who engage in intermittent fasting tend to feast on nonfasting days rather than focusing on eating nutritious, well-balanced meals. This may have a negative effect on general health, even if the person does lose weight.
- eating disorders
- conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, that require meals at regular times
- the need to eat regularly as a result of taking certain medications
It is important for anyone on an intermittent fast to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Doing this is especially necessary because part of a person’s daily fluid intake comes from food, such as fruits and vegetables. A
Types of intermittent fasting other than the monk fast include:
- Time-restricted feeding: People eat all their meals during a restricted time window, such as within a 6–8-hour period each day, and do not consume anything in the other hours. Those who opt for an 8-hour eating window will complete a 16-hour daily fast.
- Alternate-day fasting: This involves consuming no or a small number of calories every other day. The nonfasting days do not have any restrictions.
- 5:2 eating pattern: Individuals have 2 days of restricted eating and then 5 consecutive days of unrestricted eating.
- Periodic fasting: This involves restricted eating on several consecutive days in a month. Eating is unrestricted on the remaining days in the month.
Learn more about types of intermittent fasting here.
The monk fast involves abstaining from food but drinking plenty of water for 36 hours each week. The developer of this dietary approach recommends starting the fast on a Monday after the evening meal and ending it at breakfast on the Wednesday.
Early research suggests that intermittent fasting methods may offer various health benefits. However, doctors advise certain individuals to refrain from practicing them. A person should check with a doctor before following the monk fast or other methods of intermittent fasting.